First Day of School!

On Tuesday, September 2nd, BxC welcomed its 100 founding students. Half of them had come for an open house the previous week and rushed right to the teachers they had met at that time. The other half arrived anxious to meet their teachers, and were warmly welcomed in. The preparation of the BxC staff was evident in the smoothness of the day, with students moving easily from buses and cars to their classes to recess and lunch.

Children reveled in their vibrant classrooms and began to explore the school and the many learning materials available to them. Songs were sung, names were learned, explorations were launched, and students left excitedly anticipating another day at BxC.

NYC Mayor and Chancellor Hold Press Conference at BxC

On Monday, August 18th, the same day that BxC staff members began their two week Summer Institute, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein held a press conference at BxC to herald the opening of 18 new charter schools this year.

The Mayor and Chancellor chose BxC to host because of the deep community connections of the school and its staff and because of its innovative facility partnership with Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation, the community-based organization that leases space to BxC.

Co-Directors Martha Andrews and Sasha Wilson spoke about the family forums that helped shape the vision of the school, Mayor Bloomberg spoke about the importance of charter choices, and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion highlighted the important work that Fordham Bedford has done in the community. Well over 100 people attended, along with all of the major media outlets, and BxC was mentioned all over the news that day.

Family Picnic!

On June 26th, BxC held its first annual summer picnic for families in Van Cortlandt Park. 96 students, staff, and family members attended, and everyone had a great time. Students played ball games, drew on balloons, and became fast friends. Families began to make connections with each other, and were excited to meet the staff members who will be working with their children. The students left sporting their new Bronx Community Charter School backpacks, and eager to see each other again.

Family Cleaning Day

On June 21st, BxC families and staff came together to get the school sparkling clean before the kids arrive. Windows were shined, shelves were scrubbed, furniture was moved, and floors were swept. Thanks to the help of the volunteers, the school looks shinier than ever.

The next family volunteer days are August 14th and August 21st.

Fundraising Goals for 2008-2009

We are continuing to raise money so that we can provide BxC students with the wide variety of rich experiences that all children deserve. Meeting our 2008-09 fundraising goals will enable us to:

1) Provide a Drumming Program
We hope to fund a Latin and African percussion program for our students. This program would provide instruction in African and Latin drumming, teach them about the cultural context and significance of African and Latin drumming, and provide them with opportunities for independent exploration and experimentation with the drums to encourage their creativity and self-expression.

2) Meet the Social and Emotional Needs of Students and Families
We wish to provide an expanded counseling program to further meet the social and emotional needs of our students. This would enable the counselor to spend more time in classrooms and collaborating with teachers, devote more resources to developing relationships with families and connecting them with community resources, and offer workshops on a wide variety of topics for families and for staff.

3) Focus on Health and Fitness
We would like to participate in a holistic health and fitness partnership with Montefiore Hospital’s School Health Program. This program will connect BxC staff with outside expertise in order to cook healthy food with students in the classroom, discuss issues of health with students in meaningful ways, and take part in fitness programs.

4) Plan for Our Future Facility
We need to plan for our future facility needs by working with development groups and architects to plan a permanent facility for BxC.

BxC's Successful Fundraising

Individual Donations: In late 2007, a BxC board member generously offered to match all contributions up to $100,000 as a fundraising challenge. The response to our fundraising appeal has been tremendous, and we have already raised the $100,000 we needed to meet the challenge! Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to our initial success. Because of your support, we are able to start our first school year with:

  • Two teachers in every classroom to provide individual and small-group instruction to meet the needs of every BxC student
  • A part-time counselor to address the social and emotional needs of BxC students and work closely with families and staff as well
  • Hundreds of books for each classroom, so that children can enjoy a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, follow their interests, investigate their questions, and further their love of literature

Grants: BxC has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the New York State Stimulus Fund and three grants totaling $90,000 from the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence. This money has served BxC in hiring Director of Finance Kathleen Elie and Operations Manager Roxane Brogan to set up crucial systems before teachers and students arrive, to develop a technology infrastructure, and to fund a two-week Summer Institute for all staff to prepare for the opening of school.

BxC has also received a grant from Partnerships for Parks to create an innovative program where students will learn how to care for street trees and tend the trees near the school. Students will then work to train their families by caring for trees on their own home block. This grant provides BxC with educational and technical assistance and money to purchase Street Tree Care Kits for BxC families so that they can become caretakers of the trees on the blocks where they live. This grant will help BxC fulfill its mission of helping to empower students and their families to effect positive changes in the Bronx.